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Carey's perfect emotional pitch

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message 1: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed What to leave in? What to leave out? This is a central question for writers, particularly when it comes to the emotional experience of characters. It seems to me Carey gets it exactly right in this book. Here's my explanation, with a few examples. What do you think?

http://bit.ly/HXBuE5


Richard aside from the digression into the hypotheitcal workshop it works well, that piece seemed to slow the read down considerably

Kelly Gang - like all Carey books - i found quite unemotive. he's a cold writer i feel, which on occassion can be a great thing (The Tax Inspector) but on others can be alienating to the reader (Oscar & Lucinda)


message 3: by Tim (last edited Apr 24, 2012 04:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed Thanks for the feedback, I do appreciate it.

I think I see what you mean about Carey being a "cold" writer. I guess that may be one of the reasons his books are on my top shelf. He gets at certain truths about life, but most of all, he's a great storyteller - rare enough in these days of rambling character portraits, overly cute premises, and incremental epiphanies. Loved Kelly Gang, Theft, and Jack Maggs especially, but I've enjoyed everything I've read by him.

Other writers I'd consider "cold' in the same way Carey is are Hemingway, Ian McEwan, Paul Bowles (well, he's REALLY cold), and Robert Stone. What do you think?


Richard McEwan i think only had one good book in him - Atonement. he nailed that one perfectly but everything else of his i have read has been poor - Black Dogs, Amsterdam, Enduring Love. they have moments of greatness but they are lost in terrible plotting

Hemingway I need to try again, i read Old Man and the Sea about 10 years back and was underwhelmed. having seen Midnight in Paris recently I am tempted to give him another crack

Bowles and Stone I haven't tried, I'll look into them one of these days. that's the great thing about reading, you never run out of things to read


message 5: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed You're a tough critic. I thought Amsterdam was pretty decent, in a clockwork kind of way, though it's definitely nowhere near as good as Atonement. For Hemingway, try A Sun Also Rises, and if you like that, A Farewell to Arms. Islands in the Stream is probably my favorite novel of his, but it's a bit rough around the edges.

I have a feeling you might like Stone - maybe try Outerbridge Reach or Dog Soldiers. I'm a huge Bowles fan but he's definitely not for everyone. All his short stories are good, and The Sheltering Sky is his classic novel.


Richard after me next two books, or maybe next one (Ready Player One I have been itching to read as a fun disposable one after I finish 1Q84, and there is that new king dark tower one I can or can't decide on) i'll try A Sun Also Rises.

if you get bored then I'd be curious what you think of the prologue and half chapter i uploaded on here. the rest is all done, I just haven't uploaded it. it almost won a contest here but didn't, so technically it is an award loosing novel that didn't get published - or shortlested for...


message 7: by TerryD (new)

TerryD  Loved the Kelly Gang but, I think Carey's best, hands down, is "Oscar and Lucinda." I don't know how anyone could think of Carey as a cold writer. He feels and shows such empathy for his characters.


message 8: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed I guess it depends on what you mean by cold. Aren't all novelists cold in the god-like way they wield their power over the fates of their own creations?


Richard i found oscar and lucinda an exercise in creating characters just to torture them. same with jack maggs and the quite vile tristam smith

tax inspector however was a pitch perfect black comedy and my life as a fake was a great resurrection of the ern malley story

thing with carey is he is so damn regular, a new book every two years. each time i blink there is more i haven't read then have


Danielle I think he got it right, True History was the first of his books that I really, really enjoyed, along with The Tax Inspector. Thank you, Sandyboy for mentioning Ready Player One, I'd never even heard of it and was casting around for my next read, having just finished Neal Stephenson's Reamde. I'm still catching my breath actually after that actually. I read 1Q84 a little while back and was a little disappointed.


message 11: by Gary (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gary Lawrence I am late to this discussion but I wonder whether those commenting on Carey's coldness as an author have his read "30 Days in Sydney - a Wildly Distorted Account"

It's not a novel, rather part of the Writers in The City series where well known novelists were asked to write about a city they loved.
Carey, already living, working and writing in the USA travelled back to Sydney for 30 days during the 2000 Olympic Games and wrote this extremely personal, warm account of the city he had left a decade before.

The way Carey talks about people and places, the history and geography in such intensely emotive language shows that He obviously choses the tone in which he writes deliberately. If reader perceive his characters to be cold, that because that's the way their creator what's us to see them - maybe in this way the author is indeed godlike.

30 Days in Sydney: A Wildly Distorted Account


message 12: by Tim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tim Weed Thanks for that link, Gary. As I may have said in my web posting, I believe Peter Carey is one of our greatest living writers.


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True History of the Kelly Gang (other topics)
30 Days in Sydney: A Wildly Distorted Account (other topics)